Staff Council Minutes
Thursday, February 3, 2005
2-3:00, Physical Plant Conference Room
(Submitted by Nancy Brady, co-secretary; approved March 3, 2005)
Attending: Kim Allen, Adrianne Andrews, Suzanne Beaumier, Joseph Bialek, Nancy Brady, Janice Cole, Gayle Fitzgerald, Karen Hebert, Chris Carr Hill, Marti Hobbes, Patty Kimura, Linda LaFlam, Karen LeHouiller, Merrilyn Lewis, Jinny Mason, Laura Matta, Steve Montiero, Linda Rainville, Patricia Rist, Bill Sheehan Xinh Spangler, Mike Washut, and Tara Zidonik.
Excused: Adrian Beaulieu, Terrilyn Calloway, Kate Kilpatrick, Sam Rush
Guests: Jan Ebbets, Gayle Hathaway, Tracy Putnam, and Fran Raymond
Merrilyn began the meeting with introductions as we had several guests in attendance.
Nominations and Elections - Charter Review
Articles VII (College Committees) and VIII (Procedures) were discussed.
Merrilyn questioned the current language of the Charter (Art. VII) which suggests that Staff Council "review each Committee, its mandate and its composition." She didn't think that we actually complied with that and wondered if the language needed to be changed. Some discussion of this followed in particular clarifying the difference between standing committees and those convened for special and perhaps more limited purposes. It was agreed that the charter would remain as is.
Nancy Brady noted that the charter also says we should include "open discussion" as an item on every agenda. Though we do promote open discussion at all our meetings she wondered if we should be including it as a line item for our agendas. Doing so would comply with the charter as written and reflect to our constituents that we do encourage open discussion at our meetings. Merrilyn responded that she thought "new business" was intended for open discussion.
Diversity committee - the proposed language to add this to the charter as a standing committee
Merrilyn submitted a proposal which describes the committee, its make-up and its function. Chris Carr Hill suggested dropping "the" before Staff Council and Nancy Brady proposed an additional sentence clarifying the committee's function and purpose. After some discussion both changes were approved. The approved text is as follows:
Diversity Committee - responsible for seeking ways to promote diversity on campus. This includes maintaining an awareness of and sensitivity to creating an inclusive community as well as identifying and planning activities that reflect Staff CouncilŐs commitment to diversity. This committee will consist of representatives from each staff group when possible, at least three of which must be elected members of Staff Council. There will also be one non-voting information liaison appointed by the appropriate college office, according to the needs of the committee.
Linda reported that the February food drive boxes will be set out this week and plans for the March knitting class and book swap are moving forward. Merrilyn asked the Council if they wanted to participate in a skit for Rally Day this year. Though several skit ideas were made, it was agreed not to participate this year. Sabrina is working on a staff/student event for the end of the semester. The NYC bus trip is set for May 7. Stacey reported that there were only 9 applications for Staff Visions with only 24 hours to go until the deadline. Organizers are puzzled by this low response.
Karen Hebert reported the committee hadn't met and were waiting to hear more about the managersŐ reception to Staff CouncilŐs staff morale report at the SAMS meeting. The committee is also seeking ideas for the focus of this spring's forum. The Chronicle will be published in March with an emphasis on Staff Council in hopes of promoting our group and garnering additional nominations for new members. They hope to include quotes from current members and an article about the history of Staff Council.
Personnel Policy (PPC) Committee
The committee met on 1/27 with Lianne Sullivan-Crowley. The topic of job classification was brought up at that meeting. Lianne said that in 1991, when the college experienced its last major budget cuts, reclassification happened at the same time as the cuts and it was decided that combination hadn't been desirable. Hence, they plan to wait awhile in order to disassociate the two events. Due to particular circumstances in the libraries, however, those jobs will be looked at sooner. Lianne reminded the committee that jobs can always be looked at individually on an "as needed" basis. However, she cautioned members that typically vertical changes such as more responsibility rather than just "more work" are the basis for reclassification. The committee also discussed the policy regarding essential personnel on college snow days. They also talked about the use of Web time entry of hours which will soon be a pilot and will start with the entry of green sheets (wage employees) only. The bi-weekly payroll proposal was also discussed at their meeting.
Ad Hoc Diversity Committee
Steve reported that they met on Feb. 2 and are working to establish the priorities of the committee. At that meeting they discussed:
1. Working so that diversity stays in the forefront of all we do
2. Planning to meet with Naomi Miller, Dir. of Institutional Diversity, on a monthly basis.
3. Organizing an diversity event for the fall in conjunction with student groups
4. Reflecting the Council's commitment to diversity.
Merrilyn suggested that meeting with Naomi Miller every other month as the Personnel Policy Committee does with HR might be a good model to follow.
Ad Hoc committee on staff morale - report
Merrilyn, Steve and Patty reported on their meeting with SAMS. They thought the report was well received and expect follow-up. They thought that Pres. Christ delivered the report fully and well. Merrilyn apologized for the rush in getting the report ready but said it was critical for our report to be ready for this particular meeting of SAMS. Follow-up work with managers is expected. Carol Fuller sets the agenda for SAMS. Candace Baer and Lianne Sullivan-Crowley will also be involved. Merrilyn has already sent a note to Pres. Christ thanking her for her help in this matter.
Some general discussion followed. Many thought it was a great report. Some council members wondered if the report covered all that needed to be discussed about morale or if there are other topics. Patty Kimura said that some of the generalities of the report were necessary to preserve the anonymity of participants.
The meeting ended with a quick discussion of how best to distribute the morale report to other staff. Rather than posting it on the Web, it was agreed to try to send it as an attachment to areas across the campus. Though perhaps some areas will be missed we weren't sure that this report should go on the Web site for now. Should morale be a topic for the spring forum? Further discussion of that and the morale report were postponed until our next meeting.
Marti Hobbes reported that we filled 13 boxes for the tsunami relief effort - at great showing by our staff!
All other agenda items were postponed until our next meeting.